Topeka Retiring House Speaker Mike O'Neal has been hired as the president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, it was announced today.
O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, will assume his duties with the Kansas Chamber next month, the chamber said in a news release. His term in the House expires in January.
A veteran legislator, O'Neal was instrumental during the last legislative session in pushing through massive tax cuts supported by the Kansas Chamber and signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback.
Supporters of those tax cuts, which eliminate income taxes for thousands of business owners, say the law will boost the economy. Critics say the cuts benefit mostly the wealthy and will deprive revenue for schools, social services and public safety.
Brownback applauded the hiring of O'Neal by the Kansas Chamber. "Mike O'Neal is a great Kansan and will do a fabulous job as the Kansas Chamber president," he said.
O'Neal, an attorney, announced in June that he would be retiring from the Legislature.
Kent Beisner, who has served as Kansas Chamber CEO for the past three years, will assume the position of chief operating officer.